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After my son moved across the country, I worried how we/they could afford to visit regularly. I signed up for two (free first year) credit cards that offered flyer miles for a total of 4 round free trip flights and we enjoyed regular visits!
The cards let me earn more flyer points with purchases I already regularly make anyway (gas, groceries, monthly bills, etc) so the miles continue to add up! I always use credit cards instead of cash and NEVER carry over a balance, since I pay it off completely when the bill comes in.
When credit cards offer larger incentives for particular store/purchases, I maximize that as well.
For example; when they offer a larger cash back incentive at any office supply store that I might not normally go to during a promotional month, I will buy gift cards for my grocery store at the supply store, earning the larger cash back at that month. I will then double play that savings when I USE that card my grocery store and earn my flyer miles too!
You need to keep alert to what offers they are offering. I keep a sticky tape on my cards telling me which card to use where.
After the first year was done, I cancelled one card so I didn't pay an annual fee. I chose to keep the other card, since it offered me a $99 companion ticket when I used it for future travel.
One of the sites invited me to sign up my card online and they were having a contest at the time. I won a free 20,000 extra points! One card offered a special 'dining' site that offered MORE free miles when we ate out which coincided with our summer vacation!
It's a fun game I play now! Trying to get free miles, but you can do it with other cards (which I also have) to accrue cash back too!
We use a no-interest credit card that we pay off monthly, and gold points accumulate. We've never paid cash or used a credit card for what we consider luxury items - new TVs, VCRs, DVD player, digital camera--we use our gold points. My husband used to travel for business and had to charge flights and hotel rooms, which were reimbursed by his company, but the gold points built up without us knowing about them.
When we moved to a new house, we were able to get a new TV and VCR (it was a long time ago) for the new house without paying for them. We've also used our gold points to get gift cards for our son's birthday and for graduates.
This is an excellent suggestion for many people as I traveled with my job and racked up a lot of points that I used for "pleasure".
However, I read some "statistic" (for whatever that is worth?) that less than 5 percent of credit card holders pay off their bills each month. The report also said that average people tend to spend more (even McDonald's, Burger King, etc) when they have several credit cards available.
I love saving money and getting a "bonus" to boot! But, I try very hard to limit what I spend/buy with my credit cards and just use my bank card - then when that is gone- no more "spending" and no payment at the end of the month.